Auburn vs. Mississippi State Post-Game Quotes

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Sept. 12, 2009

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Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik

Opening statement...
"Tonight of course it was great to get our first SEC win. It was one of those games. It is a typical SEC deal. It goes back and forth and back and forth. We played with a lot of energy. I thought we answered the bell quite a few times when some adversity hit our team. I am really proud of the way our players responded to a lot of negative things that happened tonight. We didn't play perfect. It was one of those games, but when you play in this league and you play good football teams ... I think Dan Mullen has done a good job with that football team offensively. They have a great scheme. They move the ball. They have good players. Defensively, they rallied and they made it really tough on us tonight. That is a good team, but we are just proud that we came out with a win. Again in the game of trying to get better every week, we certainly have a long way to go before we are where we want to be. I am happy to get the win."

On Auburn's offense...
"We were sporadic at times. The final numbers obviously will tell you that we were very effective in a number of ways. Still, so much room to improve. I thought near the end again we ran the ball well. Again, we will look at it tomorrow. It is never as good as it seems. It is never as bad as it seems. We will see a lot that we need to improve on. I am very proud of our offense and our offensive coaching staff. They have done a great job as well as our defensive coaching staff."

"We have a game plan that we go in and look at. Obviously, you have to adapt and adjust with a number of things as the game goes on. I think Gus (Malzahn) does a great job with that and so does our whole offensive staff. You have guys up top that are looking for specific things. When you see those things, we can counter with a counter punch and that is what we try to do, and I think they do a great job with that. It is just recognizing what the defense gives."

On getting closer to the number of plays you wanted to run...
"We were closer, but we weren't close enough. We were closer, but not close enough."

On getting some players back tonight to provide depth on defense...
"I think that helped us. They were quick huddling and no huddling and doing the same thing back and forth which at the end of the day lets you play a lot of plays if you don't watch it. We had ourselves defensively in a lot of third down situations where we could have got off the field and we didn't and they kept those drives alive. All of a sudden, instead of a three or four or five play drive, you are out there for 14 or 15. That happened to us a couple of times tonight. We have to really go back and look at some things third down to improve on third down percentage. It was great to have those guys back because you are going to play a lot of plays and we need to have them."

On if there was a reason Ben Tate didn't hit the field until the second quarter...
"No. We could be different next week. It depends on what we want to do. I have said all along that our intent is to run the football obviously. We are trying to work every day and to continue to get better doing that. Obviously, our goal is to rush for more than 200 a game. That is what we've set. We've done that two games in a row. Again, our goal is to continue to get better. I have to really give our offensive line a lot of credit. I think again as the games go on, our goal is to try to wear down some of these defensive lines and you are seeing that to some degree."

After the block punt, Auburn's defense really shut down their offense...
"It's not just the defense. I know what situation you are talking about, but one of the things I just told them was that it is everywhere. When the offense has to step it up right now and have to give us some momentum back, this game is a game of momentum swings. The offense had a chance to step up and get some momentum back, and we did. When the defense had a chance to step up and get some three and outs and get some momentum changes, we did. There are guys right now individually ... they are playing special teams, they are playing offense and they are playing defense. When they are back, it is time to step in and deliver because they are playing x amount of plays and they do the same thing. That is why I was proud to see our team in different areas step up and answer the bell when we needed to on all sides of the ball."

On Auburn's special teams with the kickoff out of bounds and the dropped punt return...
"It is a concern. It is a concern. We are going to address that obviously tomorrow. We obviously have a long, long way to go. We covered a lot of kicks. I hope we can cover that many kicks every week, but we have to get better at the little things, and we have to dissect that thing pretty good and figure out where we can get better."

On Kodi Burns...
"It is as good as it gets. It is great. You are looking at great things happening to great kids. As we told him when this whole thing happened, we said you are going to help us win football games. He has played a big role in the first two. It is great to see him contribute and he will contribute in other ways, too."

On Auburn's up-tempo offense at the end of the first halves the last two games...
"The first thing that we are trying to do at the end of these halves is we are trying to make sure that our time management is very efficient. That's the use of time outs and things to preserve some time. We feel like we can score quick or at least get ourselves in a position to kick a field goal fairly quick. So, at the end of every half, every situation and every circumstance may be a little different week to week. If there is a window of opportunity right now where we can try to get some momentum before halftime, we are going to do it."

On Auburn's offense under Gus Malzahn...
"It is very innovative and it is fun to watch. Again from a defensive background and me looking at it and being a part of it, it is problematic in a lot of ways, and he does a great job with that."

On Auburn's interception return for a TD by Antonio Coleman...
"I think that was an awesome deal. That was great. Defensively, Coach (Ted) Roof and our whole defensive staff spend countless hours and countless time in practice right now trying to emphasize the turnovers and take-a-ways. But you don't always know if he is going to score or not. Tonight was just really great in energizing the crowd. It gave our defense pep in our step. It was great to see. We need more. I believe we had two this game and two last game and that is not enough. I think Coach Roof will tell you it is not enough. We have to get the ball out and we have to be able to get it back to our offense more."

"It is what it is. Those momentum swings are huge right now. Hey, you get those people excited in this stadium, it is a huge momentum swing. That's the way it is, and that was one of those situations where he did."

Kodi Burns, QB

Overall Thoughts...
"We did a really good job tonight. We need to go back and check out the tape and see what we did wrong, but overall we did great. We were able to succeed and get the ball into the endzone."

On three rushing touchdowns...
"I credit all of our offensive success to the offensive line. They did a great job. Everytime we got within the five yard line we were able to punch the ball in. We executed well, and our hard work has really been paying off. "

On second half dominance...
"We're not really making any changes, we're just correcting our mistakes. We need to eliminate the penalties that we get here and there and fix a few personnel problems but we're doing a really good job of coming out and executing."

Chris Todd, QB

Overall thoughts...
"We did a few things that we need to correct and there are a lot of things that we need to go back and work on. We took a couple big shots and some of them paid off well. We still have a lot of work ahead of us."

On offensive success...
"The offensive line has been doing a really good job of helping us run the ball. They are really helping out the passing game and giving me plenty of time to get rid of the ball. The whole offense really stepped up tonight and made some big plays. All of our receivers did a great job tonight of coming back to the ball and really stepped up right before the half when we drove the ball. All the guys have really come together and we're really getting great chemistry on the field."

On gaining momentum for the rest of the season...
"Right now we're seeing what we are able to do but there is plenty ahead of us. During the game we're constantly correcting our mistakes and that's helping us to get better every game. "

Onterio McCalebb, RB

Overall thoughts...
"I think the game went well. Whenever we were down we were able to come right back and really put the game away."

On rushing success with Ben Tate...
"I love Ben Tate like a brother. When we're out there together, we have a lot of fun. When we're off the field, we're running around, but once we're in we get down to business."

On 48-yard touchdown run...
"I give all the credit to the offensive line. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be able to get a single yard. They hit all their blocks for me and I was able to get down the field."

Ben Tate, RB

Overall thoughts...
"We started off really shaky at first. It's not like last year when we never finished the game. We're a second half team because we're in great shape. The offensive line did a great job, getting us more than 350 rushing yards and over 500 yards of total offense. It was another good night for the offense and the defense did a great job too."

On rushing success in first two games...
"The offensive line is playing great with the whole blocking scheme. The coaches are working in unison with each other. It's been a little bit of the offensive line and a little bit of me. That's what it is. When we do that, we're bound to get yards."

On 35-yard touchdown run...
"I was patient, waiting behind the offensive line. I got behind big Mike Berry and let him do his job. He made it easy for me and I just hit the hole."

Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE

Overall thoughts...
"Being a freshman, every game is very exciting. Being out on the field and going through the Tiger Walk really blows your mind."

On first career touchdown catch...
"I wasn't scheduled to get in on the play. It was supposed to be Tommy (Trott). He's been working that play all week in practice and we always said that it would be a touchdown once we ran it. When Kodi (Burns) threw it up, it felt like the longest couple of seconds of my life. I was just thinking 'Please don't drop it. Please don't drop it.' I just caught in and I didn't know how to celebrate."

On team plans for upcoming games...
"We're going right back to practice tomorrow to try and correct some mistakes we made today. We need to look at the film and try to move forward from here."

Zac Etheridge, S

Overall thoughts...
"Mississippi State came out ready to play in the first half. We just had to bounce back in the second half and get the game on track."

On defending a two-quarterback system...
"We handled it pretty well. They showed us some stuff out there that we never saw on film. We knew that Chris Relf was going to come out and run the ball and we knew that Tyson Lee was going to throw it."

On being 2-0...
"It feels awesome. We've had two good opponents for the first two weeks, but we are getting the job done. We're just going to continue to take things one game at a time and do what we have to do. Tonight we are going to go out and celebrate, but we're getting back to work tomorrow."

Eltoro Freeman, LB

On picking up first SEC win...
"It feels real great. The crowd - everything. It's real big. For our offense to put up the point slike they did was huge. We all know, as a team, the offense will get it done. As a defense, we've got to get better. We gave up too many points."

On second half defense...
"Coach (Ted) Roof told us 'not to let go of the towel.' That means just keep firing off. That's what we did. I plan on watching film tonight. The coaches told us to get some rest and we'd start back at it in the morning. "

Josh Bynes, LB

On picking up first SEC win...
"It was a great start. Everybody was talking about that 3-2 game last year but we overcame that. It's a blessing to have the offense we have now. It feels great to go out there and show that we have a solid team put together down here in Auburn."

On week leading to West Virginia game...
"We've got to work on our overall execution defensively. We need to wrap up a lot better and come together as a unit. It's early and we have a lot of time to make up the mistakes. We're going top be very prepared for West Virginia. They are going to be competitive. They're going to be after us. We're going to come in two times harder than last year. We're going to become a lot more focused over the next few weeks. We're 2-0 right now but we're 0-1 with West Virginia."

Antonio Coleman, DE

On interception return for a touchdown...
"It came from hard work and just believing in my coach. Coach (Tracy) Rocker told me his defensive line gets one a year everywhere he coaches. I just dropped back and read the quarterback."

On starting SEC play with a win...
"It's great but we've got a lot of work to do. That's two down. We've got ten to go. It's getting tougher and tougher for us every week. We'll go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get back to work on West Virginia."

Thoughts on West Virginia...
"I know about Noel Devine. I'll tell you that. He's a good back. We played against him last year. He racked up a lot of yards on us."

On team morale after first two games of the season...
"It's just a different feeling. The offense put up 589 yards this week and over 500 last week. We've got an offense that's rolling, a defense that's rolling and a special teams that's coming along great. We're peaking at the right time. We've still got a lot of work to do."

Mississippi State Post-Game Quotes

Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen

Opening statement...
"It was a disappointing night for us. I know our guys gave a lot of hard work. We have to do a much better job as a coaching staff. I am disappointed in the coaching staff, especially myself tonight, not putting our players in better positions to be successful. Obviously it was completely unacceptable for us to give up over 300 rushing yards. That is not Mississippi State defense. Offensively, we need to convert more on third downs so we can take some of the pressure off of our defense. If we did that tonight, and make big plays, there were plays to be made and their guys made them and we didn't. We have a lot of work to do and clean some things up and find a way to win next week against Vanderbilt."

On problems on defense...
"They had a couple of big ones (mistakes). We missed a couple of big plays and Auburn threw a couple balls up for grabs. Our guys were just inches away. As that went, we lost a bit of momentum and our offense had a couple of herky-jerky drives. We weren't able to keep our defense off the field and that's a big, big contributing factor to that as well."

On how to defend all of Auburn's offensive options...
"They do a good job and they have a good scheme. They had two guys that had over 100-yards rushing and at times we did a good job, we just gave up big plays. You can't do that, you can't give up third down and longs; that's going to come back and get you."

On quarterback Chris Relf's emotions...
"He has a lot of learning to do. He is a young guy without a lot of experience. I think he did a decent job of coming back from the (Antonio Coleman) interception. We have to clean some things up and we have to put him in more positions to be successful. Chris is going to learn from this. He is continually developing. What we have to do is help him build his confidence as a quarterback and get him ready for the future.

On the lack of production from the freshmen...
"We have to give them the ball a little bit more and get those guys in the open field. They did a good job of keeping us off schedule and not letting us get into the flow of things. One of the things we have to do when we get on the road is lean a little more on our older guys with a little more experience."

On Auburn's third-quarter dominance...
"The drive at the end of the first half gave them a little bit of momentum heading into halftime. What gets you is the offensive execution. We came out in the second half trying to build some momentum but we had two straight penalties and that just kills a drive for you. When that happened it boosted Auburn's offense. Their offense got rolling and our offense didn't take back the momentum."

On the blocked punt...
"I don't know who got it. We wanted to go after it and be attacking. Special teams are always going to be attacking. I thought that was going to be a big turning point for us. Obviously it was a big emotional lift for our team."

On Anthony Dixon's performance...
"For his first game of the season, I thought he did a good job running the ball but I would like to distribute it more between the backs and get some more carries for Christian (Ducre) and Arnil (Stallwort). I thought Anthony came out and played hard. I was pleased our guys played with effort for four quarters. There wasn't one play where I didn't see our guys play without effort and that's what we ask of them, to play with effort for all four quarters. If we can take one thing out of tonight it is that we played with effort all four quarters."

On the 3-4 defense...
"It was used to get speed on the edge and try and match up with Auburn's different formations. We were trying to get some faster guys for our defense."

Mississippi State WR Leon Berry

On the team's performance...
"We had a specific game plan but we just didn't follow through with it. Next week we have another road game so we are going to work hard to prepare for it."

On Auburn's defense...
"We game-planned for just about everything, we just didn't execute like we are supposed to."

On Chris Relf's interception returned for a touchdown...
"It was definitely a set-back. When I got to the sideline, I saw him and told him to keep his head up and just forget about it."

On Auburn's third quarter...
"Our defense was really down because they gave up a lot of rushing yards. I kept going to our defensive side to keep encouraging them. I was telling them to work hard and pull through. Our team has worked real hard since January. We should have played better than what we have."

On what they can take from the game...
"We have to forget about this and put it behind us and work hard like Coach said. We have another road game next week (at Vanderbilt) and we have to get a win. We were kind of down because we know our defense can play better than that. I worked against them the whole summer and I know that's not how they play."

Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon

On playing for the first time this season...
"It felt good, just like old times. I was excited. I wish I could have done more to help my team win."

On the offense's second-half struggles...
"We just didn't finish off drives. We kept having one thing go wrong. We have to get all 11 men on the same page and when we do that, we are going to be a good offense."

On what they can take away from today's game...
"I think we can take a lot from tonight. Our special teams played really well. The offense looked good at times. We can take little things like that from tonight's game. I feel like I can get better in my blocking and hitting the holes harder."

His thoughts on the rest of the season...
"We are still trying to get to the SEC Championship game this year; today didn't change that. We are going to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan for next week."

Mississippi State LB Jamar Chaney

On Auburn's offense...
"They did a pretty good job. They were trying to get to the edge and it seemed like every time they tried to get to the outside they were able to."

On Auburn's running backs...
"They did a good job but basically they just had straight lanes to run through. Their offensive line did a great job."

On Auburn's offensive pace...
"It didn't have an effect on us. We didn't play on defense like we were supposed to play. Auburn did a good job of executing on offense."

Mississippi State QB Chris Relf

His general thoughts...
"At times on offense we didn't execute well and at times on defense we didn't execute well, we just need to execute better overall."

On playing on the road...
"I tried to treat it as a regular game and play my heart out. There were some mistakes that I shouldn't have made."

On Auburn's defense...
"They had a pretty good defense tonight. They played well and the defensive line played really well."

On his emotions during the game...
"It hurts. The main thing is coming back out next week against Vanderbilt."